The Astros are trading outfielder and fan favorite Jake Marisnick to the Mets.
Going into the offseason, it was virtually a guarantee that the Astros would trade an outfielder, as they had a surplus on hand. While many expected Josh Reddick to be on the move, the club has traded defensive whiz Jake Marisnick to the Mets in exchange for two minor league players.
Marisnick is arbitration eligible for the final time in 2020 before reaching free agency next winter. He’s projected to earn $3 million next season, and with the team facing both a roster and budget crunch, Jeff Luhnow and his team decided to cut him loose.
He’s long been a valuable fourth outfielder for the Astros, with his combination of speed and incredible defensive ability. But he’s never been able to hit well enough to be a regular, so the team is making him a roster casualty in advance of his age 29 season.
What They’re Getting Back
The Mets are sending two minor leaguers in exchange for Marisnick — left-handed reliever Blake Taylor and outfielder Kenedy Corona. Neither were Top 30 prospects in the Mets organization, which isn’t surprising considering the Mets only get one year of a backup outfielder.
The 24-year-old Taylor, who was a second-round pick in 2013, takes Marisnick’s place on the Astros’ 40-man roster. He broke out in a relief role in 2019, starting the year at High-A and climbing all the way to Triple-A. In total, he worked to a 2.16 ERA in 66.2 innings with averages of 10 strikeouts per nine innings, 3.2 walks per nine, 6.6 hits per nine and just 0.4 home runs per nine.
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Corona is a 19-year-old who played most of 2019 in Rookie League but rose to Low-A ball by season’s end. He totaled a .301/.398/.470 line with 14 doubles, five homers and 19 stolen bases. It will likely be a couple of years before we see him sniff the major leagues.
Taylor, however, could end up making his big league debut in 2020. The Astros have holes to fill in the bullpen and they lack a left-hander. If he can replicate what he did this past season, the team may have just found a young southpaw reliever it’s lacked for some time.
What This Means For the Outfield
Everyone expected Reddick to be traded, and that could still happen. But as we’ve explored, trading Reddick will be difficult due to the size of his contract. Marisnick is more valuable thanks to his comparatively low salary, which made it easier to move him.
Myles Straw will likely take over as the primary defensive/baserunning replacement. He doesn’t have the power or the huge arm of Marisnick, but he has better speed and hits for more contact. What’s more, Straw is also much cheaper, which probably made Luhnow’s decision much easier.
Michael Brantley and George Springer will man two of the starting spots, with Kyle Tucker and Reddick possibly battling for the other. Yordan Alvarez and Aledmys Diaz can also play left field, so there are still plenty of options on the roster.
The Marisnick trade does not rule out a Reddick trade, as the Astros would undoubtedly love to clear part or most of Reddick’s salary. But it’s likely they were also trying to field offers for Reddick and may simply have found no takers. If that’s the case, they can proceed into 2020 with Reddick on the roster without having a glut of outfielders.
Of course this means fans are having to say goodbye to Marisnick, who was a popular player throughout his time in Houston. He’s one of the best defensive outfielders we’ve ever seen in an Astros uniform, and he will be missed.